On a regular basis, I hear that people ‘just want to be happy’. Happiness is defined differently by everyone. Some people think the key to happiness is more money, better working conditions, stronger family ties and although all of these contribute to your mood, the real key is improved self-care. In our fast-paced world, it’s too easy to be wrapped up in the little things and neglect yourself.

Everybody suffers from days when the world seems a little grey, but help is here. These are my simple steps to improving your mood, to help you to make the most out of every day.

Sleep More

It’s recommended that the average adult should sleep for between 7 and 9 hours, but on average, people are under sleeping by at least one hour every night. It may seem hard to fit in a decent night’s sleep with life’s many responsibilities but it can be the key to feeling happier and healthier. Some studies have even shown that lack of sleep can even lead to some long-term health conditions such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, obesity and more. Getting to bed earlier can really help to improve not only your health but also your mood.

Get Outdoors

At this time of year, it’s easy to slip into the routine of hiding underneath your covers and binge-watching TV in your pyjamas, but it’s important to get outside. Studies show that being around more green space like parks and gardens can lead to greater well being, and other research suggests that being outside surrounded by nature can even make you feel more alive! Plus getting some exercise will cause a release of endorphins that will make you happier. So grab your wellies and get out there.

Keep a Diary

Diaries are not just for children! Some health professionals recommend mood journals to people suffering from depression, bipolar and other mental health illnesses as they are a great way to keep yourself aware of your feelings and help you to cope with them, whilst also providing a record of your moods. Keeping a log of your feelings and activities can be a brilliant way to release your anxieties and stresses, helping you to wipe the slate clean for the next day and identify patterns in your moods.

Reward Yourself

It’s easy to get stuck into a routine where every day feels the same. Life is busy but it’s so important that you reward yourself on a daily basis. Make a list of things that you enjoy and make time for them. It can be things like taking a long bath, lighting your scented candles, reading a book with a cup of tea, visiting a friend or cooking your favourite meal. Rewarding yourself can really help if you are feeling depressed as it can lift your mood.

Talk to Someone

One of the most important things to do when feeling low is talking to someone. Keeping your worries locked up can breed further problems and lead to feelings of depression and isolation. Find yourself someone who you can talk to fear-free of judgment – whether this is a professional like myself or a friend. Talking about your problems can help you to release tension, put things in perspective and sort through your feelings. There is nothing worse than feeling alone and nobody ever needs to feel that way.